Governor Deal signed a sweeping gun bill Wednesday, expanding the places where people can carry firearms in Georgia. The Safe Carry Protection Act, more commonly known as the “guns everywhere” bill, will allow licensed gun owners to carry firearms in many churches, bars, and government buildings. During the signing ceremony in Ellijay, Gov. Deal said he was putting into law a gun bill that heralds “self-defense, personal liberties, and public safety.”
There was more controversy Friday at the Capitol after members of the House approved a bill that allow Georgians to carry guns in more places, including churches and bars. Lawmakers dropped the provision that would have allowed guns on college campuses, but as it stands Friday, the bill would decriminalize the act of bringing a gun onto university property. House Bill 875 erases the part of Georgia's code that banned guns from churches and bars. While it doesn't say gun owners can take firearms on college campuses, it changes the penalty from criminal prosecution to a fine of 100 dollars.
Sponsors are moving to finalize a gun rights bill that will not include a controversial "campus carry" provision. Now lawmakers say the gun bill will focus on other areas. The push to allow students to carry weapons on public college campuses has long been a sticking point in negotiations on expanded gun rights. A potential compromise would have left the decision to school presidents, but legislative leaders decided to drop the provision after a legal review concluded it was likely to be ruled unconstitutional. Lawmakers say they will reintroduce the bill with gun legislation for other groups such as churches and school.
With the 2014 legislative session only five months away, Second Amendment advocates are preparing to pressure lawmakers to expand gun rights in Georgia. The gun rights group GeorgiaCarry.org started its two-day annual convention Friday in Cobb County.
Gov. Nathan Deal is weighing in on two key battles at the state Capitol -- a bill that would loosen gun restrictions and another that would rein in lobbyist spending on lawmakers -- even before the 2013 legislative session concludes.
In a suit mailed to the Superior Court of Upson County Friday, plaintiff the Rev. Jonathan Wilkins accuses Georgia officials of violating his First and Second Amendment rights by enforcing state code restricting the carrying of guns in places of worship.